Growers respond to WCA restructure

26 Jul, 2000 03:00 PM
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AFTER a slow start, woolgrower responses to the Wool Council of Australia restructure survey are now flowing in, according to Dale Park, chairman of the Wool Industry Representation Committee. By last week, 15 per cent of the 2000 survey forms mailed to growers three weeks ago had been returned, he said. "The response has been very encouraging," he said. "However, there is a long way to go." Survey forms, seeking grower opinion on one of four models to replace WCA, were posted to 1000 randomly selected WoolPoll 2000 voters and to a further 1000 woolgrowers on mailing lists prepared by state farm organisations (SFOs) and production marketing groups. Growers from WA have returned the best response from the random sample, with 21pc of forms completed and returned. Queensland responses are slowest at only 7pc, while other states range from 13-16pc. In the mail-out section, members of the NSW Farmers Federation are in front with 18pc, closely followed by the Australian Woolgrowers Association with 17pc. Woolgrower members of the Victorian Farmers Federation and Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association were tailing the field. Growers have long argued the current WCA peak body model is too far removed from its grass roots membership, and a more representative, accountable and transparent structure is required. In developing four restructure models, the six-member WIRC hopes growers will find at least one that satisfies their requirements. The four options: pA direct membership model, whereby they join the national organisation directly as individual members, not though their membership of an SFO or production/marketing group. pA federation of organisations, tying together membership of all existing SFOs and production/marketing groups. pScaling WCA down to a sub-committee of the National Farmers Federation. pNo national organisation, whereby representatives of SFOs and other wool groups would meet only on an "as needs" basis. If growers vote in support of a new model for representation, the WIRC will continue working with industry organisations to develop a new body to be up and running by January 1.

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